A Day in the Life of a Techie

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This year we've featured a selection of 'A Day in the Life' blog posts from various EIFF departments; our submissions viewers, the Industry team, and the programming department.

This week we'd like to introduce you to our unsung heroes: the Technical department! Here's Ali Blaikie on how they prepare for the Festival and how they work hard to keep our screenings running smoothly.

The content for this year's EIFF has not reached the the final stages of presentation, but already the Technical department is becoming more and more involved.

We have guidelines for the numerous ways a film can be submitted and we work closely with the programmers to help filmmakers get their film onto the big screen. All the projectionists at EIFF take pride in presenting a filmmaker's work exactly as they would wish it. The crossover from creative vision to technical requirement is a fascinating and sometimes a challenging period.

In the New Digital Age of Cinema we encounter various glitches and gremlins that all need smoothed out by showtime. Technical work for the festival is very time sensitive and our workflow come May becomes quite staggering. Here at Filmhouse the home of the festival we have a strict block on any private hires to allow us as much time as possible to work with Festival content.

There are only five of us in the department and between us we will complete the revision, make up, processing and handling of all the films shown within the two weeks of the festival. We have an army of Quality Control volunteers headed up by editors and other production professionals. Each and every film will be checked validated and checked again by our eagle eyed QC’ers.

The content is of course the very heart of the Festival but the delivery method of that content is equally scrutinised. The 35mm,16mm and DLP projectors are thoroughly cleaned and calibrated as are the lenses, lamps, plates, sound equipment and screens in the various venues used to showcase the next generation of cinema. Specialised AV equipment is installed and many a user manual must be read in preparation for Q and A sessions, live events and/or any other special scenario with unique requirements.

Our work goes beyond preparation and continues during the Festival. Throughout the CMI offers the purchase of any newly created DCP (Digital Cinema Package) from alternate sources to the Filmmaker. Each DCP is created as DCI compliant to the latest SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) standards. While the premiers and other events go on we process last minute jobs, clip shows and award winners which are only announced hours before.

Technical is staffed between 8am and 1am every day of the festival and we are on call 24/7. You know the strangest thing? We wouldn’t have it any other way, we love it!

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